Display Board Walkthrough/Tutorial for Artist Alley

Display Board Walkthrough/Tutorial for Artist Alley

Are you an artist looking to update or upgrade your convention display? Whether it be to organize it more or to have a more professional appearance, display boards are a great way to enhance the look and organization of your booth space.


Display boards can be easy to make and print at home or through a print shop. Through this tutorial, we will provide you with information on how to get started In creating your own display boards for your booth! 

To create our display boards we use a website, Canva which offers both free and pro versions to its users. We find that this website offers the best options in creating display boards, and other things you may want to create! (we're not sponsored, we just really love the website!) 

To begin, create an account with Canva if you do not have one.

Once you have created an account you can follow the steps below to begin building your display boards! 

Step One: Planning the size of your boards

Grid cubes are the most common in AA to display merch. If you use grid cubes like these for your your booth it becomes even easier to measure the size of boards you may want to get. Most grid Cubes have a 12x12x12 size so you will want to use those dimensions when making your template on Canva. 

*Some grid cubes have a size of 11.8"x11.8" so before you make your template in Canva you will want to make sure what type of cubes you have and what their size is. 

Choosing the size you want to go with will depend on a few factors like traveling, printing options, and and inventory. 

For us specifically as we drive to a majority of our conventions we have opted for larger display boards that we know can display a lot of our inventory 12x36--But I think that for a lot of Vendors they choose to go with the standard 12x12.  

  • In Canva: select CREATE A DESIGN (top right) and choose "Custom Design" You will want to put in the dimensions of your boards (for this tutorial we are going to stick with the standard 12x12.

Make sure you change the size measurement from px (default) to inches! 

Step Two: Designing your boards 

Once you have your template pulled up, I think the hardest step out of the process happens. The design. You can choose to design your boards however you'd like! Some ideas 

  • Add pricing details to the top of the display board 
  • Add website information to the bottom of the display board
  • Add other information about your business to the top, bottom, or sides of the display boards. 

Whatever the design you want, I would keep in mind a few things: 

  • What is the display board for? (Enamel pins, charms, stickers, etc...) 
  • What is the size of these items? 
  • How many are you wanting to fit per board? 

Choose to upload a background or a color to use as a background for your display board. Choose to add whatever information you'd like to it as well! For tutorial purposes we have just included a 12x12 example. 

Once you have your background and information you will want to add the squares on top for your merch items you plan to display. Most of the time these squares are uniform across the board which makes it very organized and appealing to the eye. When you create the squares you will want to know the smallest measurement you can go for your items that will allow them to stay in the square, and separate from other items on the display board. 

For this tutorial we will say that our items are 2.5" in size. 

  • In Canva: go to Elements--> Shapes. Choose whatever shape design you want! We find that squares and circles are easier shapes to use when creating a more uniformed look across display boards. 

Size your squares/circles/stars/hearts into the size you need them to be. You will also want to possibly change the color of the square (we typically do white) to allow the merch to stand out against the background itself. 

A 12x12x12 Board will be able to yield about 16 2.5" squares. If your merch is smaller or larger the quantity of squares/circles/stars/hearts you will be able to have on one board will obviously change. 

Once you have a design you like you will want to save the image as a PNG, JPG, or PDF. (We typically choose to save as a PNG or JPG) 

Step Three: Printing your display board 

There are a lot of ways you can choose to print your display boards, and we will go over some of the more popular methods: 

  • Printing at home 
  • Printing with a print shop/local printer 
  • Printing through website like Vistaprint, Printrunner, Squaresigns, etc...  

Printing at home: 

If you have a large format printer that is able to print 12x12 designs then printing at home is a viable option for you! 

Pros: Able to print designs on demand, change designs regularly. 

Cons: material to print is limited (paper/cardstock), display boards may be easily torn/ripped, cost of materials/ink/etc... 

Printing at home you can also choose to laminate your displays to give it more integrity/stability. 

Printing at Print Shop: 

If you have a local printing shop they may be able to print display boards for you. They may have the option of being able to print the design on material other than cardstock/paper (like foamboard or corrugated plastic) 

Pros: more material options, ability to print larger sizes, printing abilities, etc... 

Cons: Cost of printing, may not be able to change designs often if needed. May not have materials you want. 

Print through Website: 

Allows you to create your display through most of their design programs and choose other options for your display like foamboard, corrugated plastic, cardstock. You get it shipped right to your home and you don't have to do anymore work on them. 

Pros: more material options. great option for those who do not have a large format printer or local print shops near them. Great for seeing examples of your display boards through their online design templates. 

Cons: Cost of materials/shipping, colors may be different due to CMYK/RBG files. May not be able to change out designs are frequently or get a replacement if needed easily. 

Whatever way you decide to create have your display boards printed is entirely up to you. We have utilized Vistaprint and Squaresigns and have opted to have foamboards or corrugated plastic for our display boards. We have found that both of these options have been easier for us in terms of reuse and stability, but ultimately it really just comes down to preference.

Be aware that each material has a pro and con as well. 

Step Four: Hanging your display boards 

Once you have your display boards hanging them up should be relatively easy. We suggest putting your merch on the board BEFORE hanging up your boards and great ways to attach your merch to the boards include: 

  • Command mini hooks 
  • Adhesive zip ties
  • Velcro stickers 

All can be found on Amazon or at your local Walmart/Target. 

Once your merch is attached, attaching your boards to your grid cubes will depend on what type of cubes you have. 

Grid cubes with no plastic lining/cover: 

  • Use tape
  • Velcro
  • Clips

*Keep in mind material that is weaker may not survive breakdown if you choose to use tape to adhere it to the cube. 

Grid cubes with plastic lining/cover: 

  • Magnets
  • Velcro
  • Clips

Our display boards are made from corrugated plastic and are quite large so we opt to use shipping or duct tape on the back to adhere them to our grid cubes! 

Additional Information: 

I'm aware that this is just one way to create your display boards, and If you do not have access to Canva there are other programs you can use to make them like Procreate, Clip Studio Paint, and photoshop. The above steps will work with any program you decide you want to use to create your displays with. Ultimately how you decide you want to create them, or not create them is entirely up to you and how you want your business aesthetics to be. 

If there are any questions about the steps/processes above or anything that needs more clarity please drop a comment! I hope to provide additional information in the future to help aspiring artists continue to create adorable things that help their business grow! 


Thank you so much for reading! 

With Love,